Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance. This week, I am excited to introduce to you Davalynn Spencer. A crime-beat reporter turned fiction writer, Davalynn is married to her cowboy husband – a love at first sight story that made me smile. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.
Davalynn is giving away a copy of her latest release, The Cowboy Takes a Wife! So,be sure to check out the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to see how to be entered to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
When the dark-eyed cowboy walked into church that Sunday, my seventeen-year-old heart knew I was looking at my future. At least I like to think so. It took a couple of years, but we made it to “I do” and since then, so many of my nonfiction stories have come along because of him. I’ve written for Prorodeo Sports News, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, Power for Living, The Upper Room, Quiet Hour, and many other publications. And when I broke into fiction, our life was often the inspiration—ranches, rodeos, and romance. For several years I worked as a crime-beat reporter and religion page editor for a mid-size daily newspaper, and now I teach writing at the community college. I live on Colorado’s Front Range with the cowboy and our Queensland heeler, Blue. Contemporary worship is my favorite music genre.
Tell us about your current release.
The Cowboy Takes a Wife is set in Cañon City before Colorado was a state. Annie Whitaker follows her widowed father to the fledgling mine-camp supply town where she helps him set up and run his mercantile. Caleb Hutton rides through town on his way to a ranch that doesn’t need him. But it’s what he’s riding from that leads him to stay around, get to know Annie and her father, and find his way back to his true calling. Cowboy is the first in the three-book series about the Hutton and Whitaker families – all fictional, of course, but written against the bold backdrop of the rugged Rocky Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?
Yes. That’s how valuable each of us is to God.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?
Fingers-on-keyboard. I don’t have trouble with writer’s block, and I credit my years as a reporter. When you write everyday on deadline, you learn to just write. It was great training on the way to what I really wanted to do. God knew that; I didn’t.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?
Words have always drawn me. In the sixth grade I wrote a short sci-fi romance—without knowing it was a romance. Crazy, right? But beyond that, I’ve always had an internal need to find the right words to show what I see or feel or experience.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?
I am definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer. However, after 50-100 pages, I start plotting a bit. I also keep a notebook as I write that has a story calendar, page numbers of important events, and character sketches.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?
It depends upon the publisher. I just start writing. Once the story sells, I can tailor it to be longer or shorter than what I have.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?
I don’t know if it’s the strangest place, but the most recent place was the parking lot at a local gas station/diner on a major highway that runs through our small town. I parked facing another car with a woman behind the wheel talking on her cell phone. I sat there for a moment and the story flooded in. Two months later, I sold that story’s premise to a publisher.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read?
I write what interests me, not what the “market” says people want to read. I can’t do that, because the words come from a well within. However, I can tailor the story to fit a certain publisher’s standards, or fill a need in their line-up. That becomes a challenge similar to going out and finding a news story as a reporter.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write?
As a Christian, I am learning to walk by faith. Jesus says, “Trust Me.” Rarely does He say, “This is the way we’re going and here’s how it’s going to work out.” The same thing happens in my writing—I just write. It’s not perfect, it’s not my final draft, but if I don’t put something down on paper, then I have nothing to work with. The first words are a blob of clay on a potter’s wheel. They look a lot different than the finished product.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
I usually have the ending in mind when I begin a book. The fun part is how I get there, and sometimes my characters have ideas of their own along the way.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?
I never saw myself writing historical romance, but when I look back at my life, I see the underpinnings of the genre – faith, fresh hope, the longing of our hearts for God’s all- encompassing love, and my ongoing delight in history and all things Western.
Find Davalynn online:
Find The Cowboy Takes a Wife online:
The second book in the series, Branding the Wrangler’s Heart, can be pre-ordered for the May release, and the third book, Romancing the Widow, releases in August.
Davalynn is giving away a copy of The Cowboy Takes a Wife!
ANNIE WHITAKER HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PLAIN JANE
But in the bustling gold-rush town of Canon City, Colorado, she turns heads, especially that of cowboy Caleb Hutton. Annie’s seen Caleb many times in her father’s mercantile, and she’s surprised and pleased when he takes a special interest in her.
Caleb’s faith was shattered when his fiancée jilted him for a wealthier man. But as he gets to know Annie, his view of women—and God—soon takes a turn for the better. Can Annie’s steadfast faith help the former preacher find his way back to his calling and a second chance at love?
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